I really enjoy Leonard Cohen’s music, especially his most recent albums from Dear Heather to Old Ideas. I would like some recommendations on songs or musicians with a similar style, especially those similar to the newest albums.
May not be even close: Tom Waits?
This is a guess, but Joseph Arthur
Have you tried last.fm or pandora to get a better idea of similar bands?
Nick Cave, maybe?
Loudon Wainwright III
Nick Cave could work if you pick the right albums. “The Boatman’s Call” or “No More Shall We Part” might be good.
Adam Cohen, at least his most recent album.
Bill Callahan might work.
Two that kind of remind me of old man Cohen: old man Cash, and old man Jones. Note that Tom Jones is singing a Cohen song, but in both cases, you’ve got a male singer with a deep, resonant voice tempered with decades of wisdom, singing weary, sad, old-man songs. I love 'em all.
Anyone from this tribute album, perhaps.
I don’t know if Jens Lekman is really comparable but I like him.
Leonard Cohen’s a musician? Next thing you’ll tell me is that he’s a singer.
Intro’d via Noel Harrison’s Suzanne, which I think he sang on The Girl From UNCLE. Then read some of his poetry because he wrote Suzanne. Then I met my own Suzanne, who was also my Marianne. Then I discovered his early albums and they became Depression Music. I wanted to start a thread discussing Cohen and what happens when a good, modern poet throws caution to the wind and gives meter and rhyme a try.
Besides those mentioned I’d also go with Bob Dylan, ca 1966, because that woman was also my Johanna. And maybe Jacques Brel. Nick Cave’s good, but I don’t play him at the same times I play Cohen because I only have Murder Ballads.
I’ll throw in a recommendation for the Tindersticks. Though they often sound more grandiose than Cohen’s sparse arrangements, the mood and themes are similar (and they are simply a fantastic band).
Tom Paxton is similar, but not so dark.
In terms of voice or style?
For gravelly voice, talented songwriters, you could try Bill Morrissey, Chris Smither, Jack Hardy, Greg Brown, and maybe Joe Pug or Townes Van Zandt.
If you’re looking for Cohen’s blend of urbane bleak despair, I agree that Loudon Wainwright III is a good pick. And maybe Richard Thompson.
I love James McMurtry for his lyrics, his humor and his, well, [del]cranky[/del] than than entirely sweet persona. When he was writing this one, he told his band, who were impatient for him to finish, that it was a Leonard Coen(ish) song. Check out You’d a’ Thought (Leonard Cohen Must Die).
Slight but thoroughly worthwhile diversion: have you heard these two magnificent covers of Cohen songs?
Lou Reed, Scott Walker
Neither are stylistically exactly like him, but both have their similarities.